Neighbours surely intend to do much

Alexander Lukashenko counts on development of co-operation with Latvia and other EU countries, without prejudice, as he meets Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics

Alexander Lukashenko counts on development of co-operation with Latvia and other EU countries, without prejudice, as he meets Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics
Alexander Lukashenko counts on development of co-operation with Latvia and other EU countries, without prejudice, as he meets Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics

“We have issues on which we must keep an eye, discussing, and finding acceptable solutions. I’ve never had any prejudice concerning Latvia, and I hope that I never will have. We have always found a common language with our partners, especially in the trade and economic sphere. God willing, we’ll enjoy such co-operation with other states too,” noted the President of Belarus, addressing Mr. Rinkevics.

Mr. Lukashenko underlined that Belarus and Latvia are actually interdependent, saying, “We have many projects on the go to develop infrastructure, especially the port infrastructure of your state. Both the state and private businesses in Latvia are ready to meet us halfway. We’re planning mutual relations, hoping that, despite some prejudices from particular politicians in Latvia (and in the West) we’ll manage to advance economic co-operation.”

The Head of State believes that Belarus-Latvia political and diplomatic relations lag behind the level of trade and economic co-operation. “However it would be worse if economic and trade relations lagged behind. As for policy, we are always capable of catching up. I hope that your visit brings advancement of our political relations to the highest level,” the President said.

Mr. Lukashenko noted that Belarus’ foreign policy is primarily guided by a desire to uphold strong and friendly relations with its neighbour nations. It relies on Latvian assistance in developing interaction with other EU countries and Latvia is chairing the EU for the first half of 2015. As the Belarusian President noted, “We’ve always declared that, although we have very friendly relations with our neighbours — Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine — we are also interested in closer ties with the West, which possesses technologies and resources. From them, we’re borrowing the means to implement projects using western technologies. If Latvia can help us to develop closer relations with the EU during its chairmanship, and beyond, we’ll be very grateful.”

Latvia intends to give a new impulse to relations between Belarus and the EU, announced the Latvian Foreign Minister. Mr. Rinkevics underlined, “We already have certain plans, such as the simplification of the visa regime; we’ve begun work towards this end. We also have possibilities for political and economic dialogue. As the chairing country, we’ll promote relations between the EU and each member of the Eastern Partnership, using an individual approach. We appreciate each country’s right to make its own choices. We won’t encourage ‘intrigues’ to win somebody over to someone’s side.”

By Veniamin Mikheev

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